From feeling like ‘dead wood’ post maternity and hitting 40, Emma Van Heusen turned her dream of owning her own business into a reality and is now a six figure business owner inspiring women globally.
Mumpreneur and best-selling author shares her story and top tips with WeAreThe City – taking a very open approach to sharing highs and lows, Emma charts the struggles she experienced, alongside revealing her insights on how she overcame such challenges, in a bid to inspire others looking to make a change in 2019.
2018 was a year to remember for 46 year old, mumpreneur Emma Van Heusen from Bristol, who discovered she’d penned a best-seller, as a book she co-authored went straight in at number 1 on the Amazon best seller charts in; Business Consulting and Entrepreneurship alongside books by; Sir Richard Branson, Baroness Karren Brady, Sir Alan Sugar, Carrie Green and Jo Malone.
Emma’s story within ‘You are Meant for More’, shares her intensely personal story of how she lost her confidence and self worth, being made to feel ‘old and irrelevant’ in a fast paced ad agency environment when she returned to work after maternity leave, and tells of her mission to ensure other women within her industry need never be in that situation.
Emma said: ”One of the attractions of working in an agency when you’re young is the pace, the creativity and the diversity involved. We take on the chin the long hours, the out of hours commitments and the lack of time for ourselves – but we almost wear these challenges as badges of honour. I am now in place where I feel that shouldn’t be the case, and especially for parents who are trying to juggle a work and family life. I believe there needs to be a better way of still working in an industry you love, but without this level of work/life conflict. Sharing my story in this book I hope will help others recognise that they may be in the same situation, and there are other options available where you can work on your terms”.
“Looking back now I know that becoming a parent meant it was hard to fit in with agency life as I had always known it. Having to make sharp getaways to do the nursery run and not being so available like the young blood coming in was hard. Trying to pretend that having a baby was no big deal and wouldn’t affect my work life, just wasn’t working out and left me feeling out of the loop, washed up and past my best before date.”
Emma wrestled with limiting beliefs and feelings that made her feel like ‘dead wood’ on a daily basis, until in the end she came to the conclusion to leave the agency. She said: “My confidence had sunk so low that it was affecting my performance, and I felt like it was the quickest way to put everyone out of their misery. It was time for the elephant in the room to be discussed. The day I handed my notice in came with a mixture of sadness and relief, but I knew I had made the right decision for me if I stood any chance of clawing my confidence back.”
Emma’s turning point was deciding to invest in her own development when she took a training course in Social Media Advertising, to make her feel ‘more current’ and as a result found a way to blend her creativity with her marketing industry knowledge, into more flexible working hours… Emma is now a self-confessed Facebook Ads nerd, agency founder, coach and six-figure business owner, working with other mums, and brands across the globe, sharing her knowledge.
But this success didn’t come without struggles, as after initially going self employed she found herself with just £144 per month coming in from one client. After seven months of living on one income Emma felt the pressure and made a trip she had never expected to have to make – to the Job Centre. It was here that she was told about another scheme, for people who wanted to start their own business – with access to a mentor and weekly payments and this was the driver she needed. From this moment she decided to treat her new company and venture as she would have done a client at the agency in her previous role and took a strategic approach to building her new business.
Within a few weeks she had built a network of around 240 people and started on her path to making £100k in 100 days.
Emma has over 20 years’ experience of working in advertising agencies on global brands on both their advertising campaigns and communication strategies and she has now leveraged this experience into her new career. Mentored by Facebook’s Global Strategy Team and taught by some of the leading Facebook Marketers, Emma has a wealth of experience and knowledge and now has 2 arms of the business – she helps to train women to become Facebook Ad Managers to give then more flexible working and also runs an agency working in the e-commerce and lead generation space. Emma said: “As I was writing my story for the book and reflecting on my journey to becoming a 6-figure business owner, I know for certain that it was the application and execution of all the things I scrawled on those sheets of paper that made this possible. It was no accident. I was strategic in my approach and despite being terrified every step of the way I went all in to make it happen. No longer do I feel like a washed up forty-something woman who needed to be put out to pasture. I feel like me again and I can’t tell you enough how much of a relief that is for both me and my family. Emma is back and here to stay, no longer defined by other people’s ideas about age and motherhood. In the end, I did get to make it work and find the balance I so desperately needed, plus in the fight to make this happen I became stronger and brighter than ever.”
“I am so excited to share my story in this book and I hope we can inspire others who dream of running their own business, but who perhaps haven’t taken that step yet, or those who are in the early stages and are feeling a little lost. I also hope it will show people who are not happy in their current workplace – that there is more out there and that taking that leap of faith, whatever it may be, to get on the right path for them, is so crucial to overall wellbeing”.
As part of her mission to inspire others Emma’s top tips to starting your own business in 2019 include:
- Choose to be brave – choosing to be brave (with the support of my cheerleaders) and putting into action what was written on those A3 sheets after my trip to the Job Centre has literally changed my life.
- Plan and strategies – my strategized approach around Nailing Your Niche, Mapping out Your Messaging & Building Awareness, Authority and Affinity… allowed me to turn my dream of owning my own business into a reality.
- Be Consistent – Consistency with how you show up and what you say is absolutely key to the success of any business and this is achieved with a very clear set of messages about your business. Educate your audience on your products and services so that it is clear exactly what you do and who you do it for.
- Keep Going – It’s not always easy – It hasn’t all been plain sailing. At times, you will have found me crying at my desk gripped with overwhelm and fear, like all of us experience at one time or another. But the truth of the matter is, I’ll take that fear and overwhelm any day of the week over how life was before and more importantly, how I felt about myself.
- Be authentic – Never pretend to be something you’re not. Be authentic and vulnerable where appropriate but do not overshare.
- Celebrate and enjoy the moments – I wrote my story for this book from a gorgeous hotel in Zanzibar where my family and I are enjoyed some quality time together, a far cry from the Job Centre waiting room. Just a few weeks prior to this I was in Los Angeles on a retreat with other female entrepreneurs who have also taken a big leap into the unknown. Next year (2019) my other half will be leaving his job to help support me and our family, and so we can travel without the confines of holiday being restricted to 20 days a year. Remember to enjoy what you’ve achieved and celebrate it!